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How to put weight on an old rat

Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 10:02 pm
by RatNation
Title says it all really. My girl is nearly 2.9 months and is very skinny, you can see her spine and hips and her ribs can easily be felt. Apart from that she's really healthy just a little tired so how can I put more weight on her? I've tried VetCal and Complan and that hasn't worked so far so what should I do now?

Admin: wasn't sure if this belongs in health or feeding so feel free to move

Re: How to put weight on an old rat

Posted: Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:42 pm
by ScissorCrow
Q: My elderly rat has been poorly and has lost quite a lot of weight. What can I feed him to help him recover?
A: Elderly rats often have a degree of kidney disease and have special dietary needs. The following are useful feeds to use where kidney disease is a problem but you need to build the rat up:

‘Porridge’ made with soya milk (not baby formula) and couscous - you can add Nutrical or Ferretvite to this.
Naturediet Lite formula.
Shredded wheat or puffed rice in soya milk (don’t substitute cereals).
Live (bio) yoghurt, preferably soya.
Human baby foods – these can be ‘souped-up’ by adding Nutrical or Ferretvite, adding coconut milk or making the powdered varieties up with soya milk.
Mashed or sliced avocado.
A little fresh or lightly cooked broccoli, kale and carrot. Cooking will make digestion a little easier.
Human complete nutrition drinks (Complan, Build Up).
Coconut milk (tinned) can be mixed into all sorts of other foods.
Processed grain products like noodles, white rice and couscous (choose these in preference to pasta).
That's from the post at the top of the Feeding Board titled 'useful stuff and frequently asked questions'.

Is she struggling to eat her normal food? Rat Rations do soft mash foods you could try, you just add hot water and let them cool.

At this stage I just feed them whatever they'll eat, for example today Randy had weetabix with soy milk and chocolate complan, avocado, soy cream and biscuits, last night he had custard and banana.

Hope you manage to get some weight back on her.

Re: How to put weight on an old rat

Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:06 am
by acapae_wolf
What's she currently eating? So as not to advise the things you're already doing.

Re: How to put weight on an old rat

Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:42 am
by RatNation
Oops just realized I put 2.9 months but I was mean't to say she's 2.9 years old :oops:

ScissorCrow - She loves her food and eats a lot she usually the first one to the bowl and they're on RR No.8 elderly in morning and evening and get a bowl of veg every evening.

acapae_wolf - They're on RR No.8 elderly in morning and evening and get a bowl of veg every evening. I've also offered her vetcal, complan and baby food. I'll probably try cheese next.

She weights 250g

Re: How to put weight on an old rat

Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:30 pm
by acapae_wolf
Right, in that situation where you've not as yet made any real change towards an oldie diet (good because the longer it is till you have to, the better they're ageing), my first step is to feed cooked carbs mixed with oil. This provides longer term energy (rather than a sugar spike), is low in protein so good for kidneys, and is usually appealing to eat. As an addition to a good diet, you're looking at getting her to eat about a heaped teaspoon daily in order to maintain weight. In order to put weight on, I would be looking to feed her these extras in the early evening i.e. before you put the veg in :)

Examples of cooked carbs+oil would be things like:
mashed potato + veggie oil (can be normal potatoes, sweet, mix of both, additional root veggies like swede etc.)
soaked bread + coconut (I tend to melt a lump of coconut in a mug with hot water, stir it up, and pour over the bread)
cooked couscous + avocado
cooked rice + linseed oil
soaked+cooked beans + omega oil
Also if you're due a RR order anytime soon their oldies soakable mix is another option of a carby base for this.
Mix-and-match between the carbs and oil type to see what works and to keep up variety :)

Many older rats whose whiskers are starting to droop prefer to eat their extras from a small plate or a spoon rather than a bowl. You can also warm it up (microwave or add some hot liquid) to make it more appealing and get her to eat more at each sitting.
The above combination is also really easy to lace with supplements, or add Complan or dried baby food to so as to add fortified powders and varying the flavour too.
If/ when she gets to the point of only minimally eating her dry mix, then building on the carbs+oil to be more rounded in terms of protein is also pretty easy.

Re: How to put weight on an old rat

Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 5:26 pm
by RatNation
Thank you so much. Very helpful information and I'll get her eating some of that...hopefully :)

Re: How to put weight on an old rat

Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:16 pm
by acapae_wolf
Also even if your other girl (seeing your sig) isn't as bad weight-wise, she could still have a bit of the above - either a smaller amount each day, or some-but-not-ever-day. The competition for the food and seeing that her friend is enjoying it may well help the one you're worried about to eat more. Generally speaking it's okay to feed extras to rats of that age who don't explicitly need it based on their condition, and it's often easier to make up amounts suitable for two rats vs the tiny amount one will eat.

Re: How to put weight on an old rat

Posted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:45 pm
by RatNation
Okay cool thanks the other girl is 323g but I'm sure she'd love it :)